The View of Women in Japan Posted by Ginny on Apr 26, 2010 in Culture
A woman by the name of Rina Bovrisse is causing some controversy in the fashion industry. A quick Google search of Japan + Prada shows just how “ugly” some of the accusations are. Bovrisse, a senior retail manager for Prada Japan, claims that she was told by the Prada Japan CEO to fire individuals who were “old, fat, ugly, [and] disgusting”. Bovrisse herself was told to “lose weight”. It’s not looking good for Prada Japan. You see, two more individuals stepped forward to file the same suit against Prada Japan.
An even more shocking claim in the Daily Finance is being made that, Hiroyuki Takahashi, the senior human resources manager for Prada Japan, was overheard saying that “Females over 30 without husbands and children are disgusting”. Although this issue focuses on whether there was any discrimination towards women in the workplace, I wonder if this issue is more societal in nature. There’s an old Japanese proverb called 良妻賢母 (ryōsai kenbo). The proverb means, “good wife, wise mother”.
The proverb is supposed to represent the ideal woman, one who is a wife and mother. To me, the proverb itself isn’t that offensive, but what about the common Japanese expression about “Christmas cake”? For those of you who don’t know what I’m talking about, have you ever heard the saying, “Japanese women are like Christmas cake, they’re hard to dispose of after the 25th”. The 25th alludes to Christmas day and how cakes are hard to sell after Christmas, and to tie it in, it’s also saying that women who are 25 or older are less appealing as prospective marriage partners.
Even women like 倖田 來未 (Kōda Kumi), a famous pop star with a successful career and adoring fans, was criticized for her comment that “When women turn 35, their amniotic fluid goes rotten, so I’d like to have a child by 35”. Who knows, maybe the singer was trying to make a comment that it’s harder to have a child at age 35, by saying the “rotten” comment. Either way, the public wasn’t amused and she was forced to apologize for her statement. The question is, how normal is this view of women in Japan? Go ahead, I’d love to hear your views in the comments section.
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